The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide

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by Allan Bedford

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593270544
Publisher: No Starch Press
Publication date: 09/28/2005
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Allan Bedford is a lifelong LEGO fan and builder whose most ambitious model is a 5,000-piece replica of Toronto's famed CN Tower. An avid photographer, Bedford spends his time chronicling the streets and people of his adopted hometown, Toronto.

Read an Excerpt

LEGO bricks have been engaging builders, both young and old, for decades. However, during this time, surprisingly little has been written about this unique building system and its many uses. True, a number of "idea books" have offered building instructions for a variety of projects, and thousands of printed instructions have accompanied the enormous range of products released over the years. In most cases, however, these instructions were only for one or two finished models. In recent years, books and articles have been written that supply information about LEGO robotics, virtual computer-aided designs, and even about the LEGO company and its many facets. Up to this point, a book that addresses the system itself and its greatest function-building LEGO models-has been missing from this list.

This book fills that gap by offering a broad spectrum of topics all connected by the thread of building real models with actual plastic bricks. Most chapters present best practices, tips, and techniques that you can apply to almost any building project. Woven together with these ideas is background information on such subjects as architecture, design, engineering, color theory, and so on.

I hope that this book will serve LEGO builders who are prepared to move beyond the instructions supplied with official sets and who are ready to begin making their own original models. My target audience may include younger builders who are working on their own or parents who are working alongside their children. Adult builders returning to the hobby may also find useful information they can use to refresh techniques long forgotten or perhaps develop those they never had as a young person.

I round out the book with a unique feature that I hope helps builders of all skill levels see the LEGO system at a glance. The Brickopedia (Appendix A) is a graphical reference tool that presents the most common and most reusable elements from available LEGO pieces. Although it does not contain an entry for every single piece ever produced, it does thoroughly examine the LEGO bricks, plates, slopes, and other elements that best define the highly flexible nature of this building system. I have categorized the Brickopedia using some traditional techniques but also using some newly defined criteria and classifications. I set this up intending that you use it as a stand-alone tool; therefore, it does not require a computer or Internet access to be useful.

So sit down with a bunch of LEGO bricks and get ready to build!

Table of Contents

What the LEGO Community is Saying about the Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide;
Preface;
Acknowledgments;
Introduction;
Chapter 1: The LEGO System: Endless Possibilities;
1.1 A Brick Vocabulary;
1.2 Precision, Geometry, and Color;
1.3 Review: The LEGO System;
Chapter 2: Back to Basics: Tips and Techniques;
2.1 Decisions, Decisions: The Best Ways to Connect Bricks;
2.2 Building Walls;
2.3 Bracing: Unseen but Not Forgotten;
2.4 Review: Basic Building Principles;
Chapter 3: Minifig Scale: Oh, What a Wonderful Minifig World It Is!;
3.1 Scale: It’s All Relative;
3.2 From the Ground Up: Creating a Minifig-Scale Building;
3.3 Substitution: When Other Parts Will Do;
3.4 Review: Building Techniques and Alternatives;
Chapter 4: Miniland Scale: The Whole World in Miniature;
4.1 Miniland Scale: Bigger but Still Small;
4.2 Creating a Basic Miniland Figure;
4.3 The Best Bits: Useful Pieces for Miniland People;
4.4 Basic Miniland Figure;
4.5 Miniland Buildings;
4.6 Review: Miniland Scale, Big Possibilities;
Chapter 5: Jumbo Elements: Building Bigger Bricks;
5.1 Scaling Up: How It’s Done;
5.2 Other Scales: What Scales Work, and Why;
5.3 Review: Jumbo Bricks Are Just the Start;
Chapter 6: Microscale Building: More Than Meets the Eye;
6.1 Microscale: Small Scale with Big Possibilities;
6.2 Getting Started: Ignore the Details;
6.3 Translating Ideas into Bricks;
6.4 How Do I Know What Scale I’m Using?;
6.5 Replacing Full-Size Parts with Microscale Stand-Ins;
6.6 Review and Suggested Subject Matter;
Chapter 7: Sculptures: The Shape of Things to Build;
7.1 Spheres: Round and Round They Go;
7.2 Divide and Build: Two Sections Means Twice the Fun;
7.3 Beyond Spheres: Sculpting Other Subjects;
7.4 Review: Sculptures—In the Eye of the Builder;
Chapter 8: Mosaics: Patterns and Pictures in Bricks;
8.1 Two Types of Mosaics;
8.2 What Can You Do with Mosaics?;
8.3 What You Need to Make a Mosaic;
8.4 Designing a Studs-Out Mosaic;
8.5 Designing a Studs-Up Mosaic;
8.6 Design Grids for the Studs-Up Technique;
8.7 Mosaics on Edge;
8.8 Review: Mosaics of All Sizes and Shapes;
Chapter 9: Technic: Not as Technical as It May Seem;
9.1 Technic: A System Within a System;
9.2 Technic Pieces: An Overview;
9.3 Getting Started with Technic: Assembly Notes;
9.4 Technic Meets Basic Elements;
9.5 Putting It All Together: Building a Technic Model;
9.6 Review: What Is Technic?;
Chapter 10: Putting It All Together: Where Ideas Meet Bricks;
10.1 Thinking Like a Model Designer;
10.2 Bringing It All Together: The Final Design;
10.3 Review: Taking On the Role of Model Designer;
Chapter 11: Beyond Just Bricks: Other Things to Do Besides Building;
11.1 “I Give It a Nine Out of Ten”: Writing Reviews of LEGO Sets;
11.2 How It’s Made: Creating Instructions for Your LEGO Models;
11.3 Having Fun: Making and Playing Games with LEGO Pieces;
11.4 Review: Enjoying Every Aspect of LEGO;
Chapter 12: Sorting, Storage, and Sitting Down to Build Something;
12.1 Sorting vs. Storing: What’s the Difference?;
12.2 Sorting Bricks: Divide and Conquer;
12.3 Storing Bricks;
12.4 Setting Up a Building Area;
12.5 Review: Unique Solutions for Every Builder;
Chapter 13: Making and Using Tools for LEGO Projects;
13.1 Presser Tool;
13.2 The Ruler;
13.3 Pin Stand Tool;
13.4 Brick Separator;
13.5 Non-LEGO Tools;
13.6 Other Useful Items;
13.7 Review: The Right Tools for the Job;
Brickopedia;
Brickopedia Breakdown;
Review: Bricks, Plates, and So Much More;
Design Grids: Building Better by Planning Ahead;
Downloading the Grids;
About the Grids;
Using the Grids Effectively;
Review: From Grids to Bricks;
Companion Website;
Updates;
Colophon;

Customer Reviews

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Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
TheRavenCT More than 1 year ago
I bought the ebook of this title. It's exceptional. The book is fairly brief, and has a lot of text, but enough pictures to illustrate the point. The book provides the fundamentals of LEGO building including: dealing with limited colors (briefly), scaling models, planning builds using graph paper, and a list of the bricks and their nomenclature. I think that this book is most helpful for the purposeful builder, helpful for the freeform builder, and less helpful for young children who aren't very structured. The ebook version seems free of errors, and is well formatted. The pictures in ebook and print are B&W, but the colors are either described in text or shades are easy to see. I like that there are links to figures and sections throughout the text and index, taking advantage of the digital format.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The cover of the Unofficial LEGO Builders Guide is inviting in itself. It seems to set the tone for the adventure that is ahead when you begin to read the book. There is information for those wanting to expand on their LEGO building skills as well as information for those who are newer to the LEGO world no matter what their age. I LOVED the Brickopedia. The author must have spent many hours devising this very worthwhile section. Great book. Let's see more from this talented author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, this is one of the most interesting books I¿ve read all year! Expecting simply a discussion on the best way to build a wall, I was surprised at the amount of awe the author is able to instill in the reader regarding those little plastic bricks. LEGO¿s are actually quite amazing. As the author points out, the LEGO company adheres to some of the strictest quality control measures. Releasing a brick that is too tall or two short is unacceptable, as your creations simply wouldn¿t fit together. The author takes almost a Zen-like approach toward LEGOs. To truly build, you must first understand the brick. So he helps you understand the brick. I can¿t believe I¿m saying this, but it¿s truly fascinating stuff. After discussing the brick and basic building techniques (you would be disappointed if there wasn¿t a discussion on how to build the best wall, wouldn¿t you?), the author shows how to build for different perspectives. Sure you can build things the same size as those little LEGO people, but you can also build things that are much bigger. The challenges and tips for doing just that are outlined. I always wondered how some people were able to create something amazing from scratch out of their LEGO collections. Well, I still may not be able to create something out of thin air, but the author does show how to plan your creation. In fact, he shows how he designed and built a model of the space shuttle¿and it all looks so easy. It simply comes down to careful planning, having the right LEGO parts, and a little bit of time. One thing I thought was really cool about this book was the appendix. Here the author shows every single LEGO piece, its part number, and a description of what it¿s good for. This is really an amazing book. You can feel the great respect the author has for LEGOs, and when you¿re done, you feel the same way. I also really enjoyed the author¿s approach to LEGO building, as it was something I¿ve never seen before. This is a great gift for that LEGO builder in your life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever noticed something remarkable when you looked at a pile of LEGO pieces? They are remarkably simple aren't they? Kind of like looking at different parts of a system! Author Allan Bedford, has written a great book that addresses the system itself and its greatest function: the building of LEGO models. Bedford begins by discussing the LEGO system and what makes it so amazing. Next, the author covers some of the best ways to connect bricks and make your models strong. Then, he looks at some very basic building techniques through the use of a train station model, as they apply to a minifig-scale structure. The author continues by showing you how very unique miniland scale figures can be created from mostly basic bricks, plates and slopes. In addition, you'll also learn how to build a model that is larger, not smaller, than the real life object it represents. The author also focuses on the opposite technique, something called microscale building. Next, the author walks you through the principles behind creating a basic sphere. Then, you will learn the basics of mosaic--the artwork consisting of patterns or pictures created on a surface using stones, tiles, bricks, or even glass. The author continues by defining in detail what mosaic really is. In addition, the author focuses on you, the builder, working toward designing the models you want to make. In addition, he also covers three different variations on the LEGO hobby. The author also asks and answers the question: 'Should I sort by color or shape?' Finally, he covers the most important lesson in this outstanding book: Simply surrounding yourself with the tools, of any description, that help you build LEGO models as easily as possible. This excellent book offers a broad spectrum of topics all connected by the thread of building real models with actual plastic bricks. Thus, Bedford has gone to a great extent to present best practices, tips, and techniques that you can apply to almost any LEGO building project .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Error! Error! Error! The stupid book won't even open and error messages pop up every time I try to open it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reccomrnf
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a TFOL, this book has helped me a lot in terms of oranizing my ~15,000 brick collection, model styles, and tips. A great, easy read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best lego book ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best lego book yet! Out of all the books i have read, this one is better than any other one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
%&$*! @#$%&!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want a refund
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks to this it helped me on my lego jeep
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